Archive for June, 2012
Work continues on the deck (looks like we’ll have an update for you on Monday barring any unforeseen
disasters inspection failures!) so to end this week with a dad-worthy bang, I thought I’d share something that a bunch of you have been requesting: a belated Father’s Day recap (like last year’s) – especially since the day included a few home related activities and presents.
The day started off much like any normal Father’s Day might. We went out to one of our favorite brunch spots (deLux) and enjoyed some french toast in their open-air back room (we also enjoyed an impromptu walk beforehand because we accidentally arrived 20 minutes before they opened – oops).
Our day kind of got derailed from there because we found out just the night before that a New York Times photographer was coming by at noon to shoot our kitchen (!!!). Cue the sweaty palms. We’d already been interviewed for the article (about people who use online floor-planning software to guide home renovations) a couple of weeks before, but it literally wasn’t until 10:30pm on Saturday that we heard they needed someone to come over about twelve hours later on Father’s Day to snap the photos. Check out the big cameras he brought…
The article actually came out last Thursday while we were at Haven. We’ll admit we’re not head-over-heels for how it turned out since we feel like we sound a little anti-architect, which definitely isn’t the case (we even have a close friend who’s an architect!). During the interview they asked Sherry about kitchen designers (not architects) and how they might help, and Sherry said something like “a designer might tell you onyx is in or help you define what you like if you don’t know, which can be really helpful” but somehow a shortened version of that was used as our quote about architects (who do a heckova lot more than talk about onyx, as do kitchen designers!). You can read the article here if you’d like. I guess there’s always a risk that a story may shape up differently than it was originally pitched to you (we heard it was more about the software itself, kind of like this post that we wrote about the pros & cons of certain programs). But at least the photo of us came out ok. No closed eyes or spinach in the teeth. High five.
The photographer was pretty speedy (and extremely nice!), but between getting home quickly to clean up the house for his arrival (both our kitchen and ourselves) and then with him shooting photos until Clara’s nap, we didn’t really get a chance to squeeze in any more Father’s Day activities (since we were also working on blog projects to get ahead before our trip to the Haven Conference and practicing our little presentation). But Sherry, Clara, and Burger did treat me to some nice Father’s Day gifts – like this addition to our kitchen that sports my favorite thing (she got it from Joss & Main). Am I the only dad to get excited about a dishtowel? Perhaps. But put a
bird bike on it and I’m sold.
Knowing that I have a thing for cool art, Sherry also found this fun “Twenty Northern Friends” print that not only is a subtle nod to our Alaskan honeymoon, but also includes lots of geek-y trivia about lesser-known animals.
Like, did you know a Snowy Owl can eat close to 2,000 lemmings in a single year? I’d say that’s about 2,000 more lemmings than I’ve eaten in my entire lifetime.
We’re thinking the print will go here in our living room, but we’ve gotta get a frame for it first (fortunately Target sells a size that should fit, so we’ll keep you posted). We think it’ll play nicely off the dark gray beams in there.
Speaking of keeping you posted, that picture reminded us that we’re guilty of sharing pictures of an unframed print and saying “we need to hang this and share the pics later” and then we hang it but never actually share the pics. So, let’s tie up some of those loose ends, shall we?
Come on into our frame hallway and make yourself comfortable…
That’s where the map of Maui (which we bought on our Hawaiian vacation back in March) ended up.
We were lucky that it fit in a frame that we found at Target (the mat’s opening was pretty much exactly the size of the map – huzzah for standard sizes!). And we actually had this empty spot on our wall since its previous occupant (an old map of Richmond) now lives on our kitchen shelves. Yup, things like frames and pillows definitely get around in our house.
And speaking of our trip out west, the wooden letterpress print that we got in Portland…
…also ended up in the hallway, just on a different wall. You can see it here on the bottom right:
I wish I could remember what was there before, but so much got moved around while shooting the book in January that I think it’s been empty for a while. Oh wait, I know – it was the other frame that we moved into the kitchen after the shelves were built since it had some images of food in it (it was actually an old $12 poster from allposters.com that Sherry cut up a few years back for our first kitchen).
Who knew this Father’s Day recap would include miscellaneous art updates? Oh the twists and turns of blogging. As for Father’s Day, I’m thankful that I got to spend the day with my two favorite girls and my one favorite chihuahua (and a random, but very nice, photographer). How was your Father’s Day? Can you think that far back? I know I had trouble! Anyone have new art to hang? Or old project updates that they have yet to blog about? Why are those little updates so hard to remember to share?
Now that we’re back home (and back in the swing of things), let’s start this off with a deck sneak peek. Oh yes, more holes are happening. So rest assured that we’re working towards a passed inspection (remember when we failed here?) and we hope to have an update on that early next week. So be sure to hold your breath for us!
But back to our Reader Redesign. Despite this email starting off with a cheer to my alma mater’s rival, I couldn’t help but share this awesome bathroom makeover with an even more awesome price tag. Plus, although we may not agree on college teams, we can definitely relate to a master bathroom that feels less than masterful. Here’s Melissa’s note:
What’s up John, Sherry, Clara, and Burger? We are just down the road from you in Blacksburg (go Hokies!) and wanted to share our master bathroom reno with you. We have five kids and squeeze home projects in whenever we can. When we bought the house, the only thing we weren’t crazy about was the size of the master bed and bath, but we loved everything else, so we took the plunge. The “Before” (90′s linoleum lighthouse/sailboat honey oak themed bath) did not feel masterful at all…
We didn’t want to pay for a big addition or re-model, so we worked with what we had and gave ourselves an $1,000 budget for new floors, a new marble counter, fixtures, lighting, shelving, accessories, etc.
Down came the oak cabinet above the toilet to open things up a bit and we installed floating shelves and baskets to hide all of our stuff. We removed the mirror and replaced it with a clearance one from Lowe’s. A wire magazine rack from TJ Maxx was added to balance the off-set toilet. We kept the vanity and painted it with Benjamin Moore’s Impervo Paint in White Dove, but installed a new marble top and faucet from Home Depot.
We went right over the lineoleum with allure laminate flooring from Home Depot – it’s water resistant and we’ve loved it in our downstairs bath (it’s really easy to install yourself).
The shower curtain is just a basic waffle weave shower curtain from Target – like the one in your bath! The paint color is Fossil Grey from Glidden’s old colors. Total spent: $995 for everything… towels, toilet paper holder, garbage can, the whole shebang.
Thanks for looking/reading! If you’re ever in town and want to go to a game, we would love to have Clara come play! – Thanks, Melissa
Didn’t Melissa do an amazing job? It’s awesome to squeeze in new floors, counters, accessories, paint, and shelving for under 1K – and we love that she worked with what she had when she could (like repainting and retopping the vanity). It looks like they added at least 5K of value to their house with that update and most people wouldn’t believe it wasn’t a total gut job. You can see more of their makeovers on Melissa’s blog too. What’s your favorite part? Sherry’s obsessed with the mirror and those floating shelves and I think that new flooring and marble top is the icing on the cake, er, vanity.
Psst- We picked a winner for this week’s giveaway, so click here to see if it’s you.
Ok, now it’s the one with him in it because I mentioned him in the title, but he has nothing to do with this post. He’s not my type anyway. You know I like ‘em tall, lanky, and bookish. And not formerly of a male dancing background.
But back to my vow. This year I wanted to actually share 4th of July ideas with enough time for other people to see them. I’m usually so last minute about holiday stuff, sometimes I post 4th of July ideas on the actual 4th of July (like this) which doesn’t do anyone much good. So yes, I literally raised my left hand with my right hand over my heart and said “I hereby vow to get it together and actually post table setting pictures the week before the 4th of July. You know, so anyone who sees something they like might actually have time to get ‘er done instead of seeing it when they’re back at work on the 5th.
I only have one rule for myself when I play around with holiday table settings: use what I have. So I didn’t buy any table wares or accessories for this, just padded around the house to see what I could dig up (and got lucky that we had lots of fresh fruit in the house thanks to my fruit-loving daughter). Oh but I did spend $3 on half a dozen Ukrops cupcakes (best. cupcakes. ever.) which not only came in handy when I used them for a table setting, they came in handy when I ate them. Haha.
But other than that, this was a zero dollar table setting spree. I even snatched some fresh flowers from the yard, but we’ll get to that in a second. My method was basically to hunt/gather and see what I could find. Here’s what the counter looked like about halfway through – I just plopped anything red, white, blue, or neutral enough to drop in and add texture on the counter in one big pile and just picked stuff out and played around until landing on something I liked. And yes that is a navy blue dog leash in my pile of possibilities. Could’ve been cute for tying around napkins (but I didn’t want to cut it up) or weaving around a vase to make a little textured “cover” – maybe next time…
I actually did three table settings, and let me just tell you, it’s times like these that I miss our first house’s little rectangular table so much (remember this and this and this). It seated four people most of the time (and six in a pinch) which was a huge pain for family gatherings, but it was so much easier to set/shoot for my little bloggy adventures in table setting. So bear with me as I share the corner of our giant round table with four place settings (since it’s a monster that seats eight, it’s awesome for family gatherings but not so easy to shoot). Enough jibber-jabber. On with the show.
Setting number one was all about keeping things easy and casual, while adding some patriotic pop (mainly with fresh fruit):
Here’s what I used:
- our regular white dishware and silverware (from Linens N Things for our wedding)
- woven cups with pink stripes from HomeGoods a while back (I figured they were close enough to red, and kinda playful)
- bowls with red apples in the middle for some 4th of July flavah
- blue patterned cloth napkins from Marshall’s a while back
- a scalloped bowl full of strawberries (from Target a long time ago) and a regular old dessert plate full of blueberries
I think it could make for a cute breakfast, brunch, or dessert shindig since it’s so blissfully uncomplicated (which is usually how I like to host since I get all sweaty at the thought of formal gatherings).
And now for a shot from above. It’s getting crazy up in here.
The second setting felt a little more “gussied up” thanks to the use of an old fabric remnant and some free flowers from outside.
Here’s what I used:
- our regular white dishware and silverware
- basic white cloth napkins that we’ve had forever (from Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, I can’t remember)
- woven cups on clearance from Sur La Table a few years back
- blue wooden bowls (the same ones that usually sit on our open shelves in the kitchen) from HomeGoods a while back
- a cake stand from a thrift store a few years ago
- an old vase from West Elm with a free hydrangea swiped from the patio
- two yards of fabric that we used for one of Clara’s monthly photos (from JoAnn with a 50% off coupon back when we got it)
And now a view from the top. I flipped the bowls over so the blue part faced up (the inside is a tan color like the woven cups) and decided it could be cute to use them like little serving domes and hide a treat for each guest under each one. So pretend there’s a little box of chocolates or a roll of Smarties under there.
See what I did to my regular old store bought white-icing-ed cupcakes? Just shoved a few blueberries on three of them and a few sliced strawberries on the other three. I’m telling you, this is The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Hosting. Just get store bought stuff and take a second or two to add fresh fruit or some other topping and suddenly it feels special without having to fire up the oven or break a sweat following a recipe (yes, I actually get sweaty when I attempt to follow a recipe).
Oh and that’s a little bowl (from Target) full of biscotti. Cupcakes and biscotti are my idea of the best party ever hosted.
This last setting isn’t as pretty since the sun was setting so my shots are kinda meh, but you get the idea. It’s my little riff on a kids table. Of course my imaginary guests would have to be a little older than Clara (maybe 5 and up to sit at their own table and make this stuff work), but when searching the house for place setting items to use, I kept coming across fun kid-ish stuff, so I smashed it all down on the table and called it good.
Here’s what I used:
- our regular white dishware and silverware
- two pieces of cardstock under each plate with a red and a blue crayon for patriotic doodles
- a few of Clara’s blocks to spell out “Happy 4th”
- stacks of colorful books with our little pig dock on top (for playing some kid-friendly songs)
- my crocheted cacti from here (blissfully free of dirt to spill)
- plastic (aka: unbreakable) cups from Target that we used for Clara’s party
- red and blue sugared gummy worms (yup, I picked them out of a multi-colored pack) along with a slice of watermelon
- a little thrift store cheese plate with red decorative paper that I made a while back with a small dish of strawberries inside
I like how Wilbur is sniffing Clara’s blocks in this picture. Totally a Burger thing to do.
And here’s a little worm close up. You know we love worms around here…
Oh and for those wondering where Clara was, she was sitting on the other side of the table for some of the fun. Haha. As soon as she saw me break out the strawberries, let’s just say there were requests. So it was nice to play around with the bean nearby, watching and chewing and singing hilarious things like “the strawberries on the bus go bite, bite, bite.” But that’s not even that funny. I just shared THE FUNNIEST conversation she and I have had to date (warning: it involves female anatomy and a baby in my belly) over on Young House Life.
So there you have it. Fourth of July place setting ideas almost a week in advance. How novel!
Now if only I could magically sort through 1K house crashing, window shopping, and thrift store photos from ATL. My goal is to have those all written up for ya next week (except for a few of my House Crashing posts since I like to space those out) so here’s hoping! In the meantime, what are you guys doing for the 4th of July? Anyone hosting? Or planning to squish some berries into store bought cupcakes? Any other awesome 4th Of July ideas you want to link to or try in the comments (would love for the comments to become a treasure trove of holiday goodness). Feel free to link away!
Psst- Speaking of things that don’t have to do with Channing Tatum, we’re over here chatting about dealing with the ceilings (and that giant “to paint or not to paint” question).